Oshawa, ON- This Saturday, October 21st, the Oshawa Generals will hold a special tribute for Tony Tanti as they retire his #22 and raise it to the rafters. Tanti will be the sixth player in Generals history to receive this honour, joining the distinguished list of alumni which includes Red Tilson, Bobby Orr, Eric Lindros, John Tavares, and Marc Savard.
Tony Tanti was drafted by the Generals in the 1980 OHL Priority Selection draft. He was selected in the 4th round, Tanti had a very impressive junior career with the Generals, which began with his exceptional rookie campaign. In his historic rookie season, he recorded 81 goals breaking the league’s rookie goal-scoring record previously set by, none-other-than, the great Wayne Gretzky (70 goals in 1977-78). Tanti would add 69 assists for 150 points over 67 games to be named the OHL Rookie of the Year.
“It was the highlight of my first year, and back in those days, I received a telegram from Gretzky saying congratulations and looking forward to playing against you at the next level. It was very exciting, I still remember the game, the moment and that record was such a big thing back then and then to break it, definitely was a year I’ll never forget, it really changed my life”, says Tanti of breaking the league rookie record.
Tanti was a first round, 12th overall draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. During his NHL tenure, he would suit up for the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Buffalo Sabres. Tanti appeared in two NHL All Star Games in 1984 and 1986 and represented Canada on the international stage at the World Championships from 1985-1987. After 12 years in the NHL, Tanti went overseas to play for BSC Preussen of the German Bundesliga. He would retire following the 1997–98 season.
It was on February 13th, 1981 that Tony Tanti made history when he broke Wayne Gretzky’s rookie goal record with his 71st goal of the season against the Kitchener Rangers. It seemed only fitting that the Rangers be on the opposite side of the ice once more as the Generals honour the legendary career of Tony Tanti when #22 is raised to the rafters.
When asked about receiving this honour Tanti said “I was very surprised and excited when I got the news. I was just inducted into the British Columbia Hall of Fame as well so it’s all coming down at once. Oshawa was the only junior team I played with and the history with the organization made me excited to be drafted there. I will always consider my time in Oshawa a big stepping stone for me.” Tanti is the embodiment of the motto “Once a General, Always a General”
The Oshawa Generals invite you to join in celebrating the incredible accomplishments of a renowned member of the Generals Alumni.
The MC for this special evening of excellence will be Sportsnet’s own John Shannon. Shannon is a 36-year veteran of the sports media landscape and as an insider and analyst for the NHL on Sportsnet he will share his own unique insight into the player that is Tony Tanti.
The ceremony will take place before puck drop on Saturday October 21st as the Generals take on the Kitchener Rangers, the puck drops at 7:05pm.